Alan Mulally was the CEO at Boeing when they rose from the ashes of the post- 9/11 airline market meltdown. Then he led Ford to four successive years of profit after the years of massive losses following the financial crisis in ’08. Ford was the only American motor company NOT to take a federal handout at that time. It will be fascinating to see the changes he brings about at Google, his latest challenge.
In his own words, the secret of success is “Positive leadership”conveying the idea that there is always a way forward – is so important, because that is what you are here for – to figure out how to move the organization forward.
Critical to doing that is reinforcing the idea that everyone is included. Everyone is part of the team and everyone’s contribution is respected, so everyone should participate.
Work together effectively as one team and always be working on your “better plan.”
This is very reassuring stuff for us all here at PBC. It’s what we have preached and practiced ever since we started in the coaching business. So we recommend the “daily huddle,” the “Monday morning review,” the “monthly time out,” and the annual “off site.” Of course the dates and scheduling are up to you and your individual business needs, just so long as they are regular and ALWAYS happen. It is all about the quality content of the get-togethers and the total involvement of your people.
There are three elements to the “success compound”:

Clarity of Vision

Clarity of vision. When you get together with your teams, it’s the leader’s job to communicate,   communicate, and communicate again the vision, the strategy, and the tactics. Conveying your vision at every opportunity is the only way to keep it fresh, to check its ongoing relevance, and to engage the people who know best in evolving it in the face of changing circumstances.

Involvement. Only people have ideas! Hardware, software, and standard operating procedures are important, but your success is only possible when your people are fully engaged with you in your enterprise. Every meeting has its personal side. And every person has their needs to be listened to, to be respected, and to be able to contribute.


Competition between organizations Competition between organizations is a good thing. Competition within a business is an unhealthy sign. Personal ambition, especially where it produces the undermining of colleagues, draws everyone’s attention and energy away from your vision.

It is our responsibility as leaders to set the tone in every team meeting. To outlaw the deplorable modern trend towards what I call “scapegoat humor” – I blame TV – and always maintain the self esteem of each individual. The gospel according to PBC and Alan Mulally is “Working together always works. It always works. Everybody has to be on the team. They have to be interdependent with each other.”


Systematic application of tools for quality. On the practical side of team meetings, there are The IMPROVEment Cycle three overarching reasons for getting together: 1) to solve problems, 2) to generate ideas for improvement, and/or 3) to communicate. Use the 4 Ps checklist – processes, people, products, points for action — to ensure you fully communicate everything you and your team need to know.

Teams also need a process for achieving continuous improvement. Without it, meetings can become repetitive and routine, and drift into pointlessness. We always recommend “the IMPROVEment” cycle. You can read our white paper “Thriving in a Matrix World” at this link. It is a superb toolbox with everything you need to work on what Mulally calls your “better plan.”


I will give the summary of this newsletter to Alan Mulally: “You’ve got to trust the process. You need to trust and nurture your emotional resilience.” He says. “Do you have a point of view about the future? Check. Is it still the right vision today? Check. Do you have a comprehensive plan to deliver that? Check. If you get skilled and motivated people working together through this process, you’re going to figure it out. But you’ve got to trust it.”
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